RIYADH: New Saudi cultural awards will celebrate artistic achievements in the Kingdom, the Saudi Ministry of Culture said on Tuesday.
The National Cultural Awards are part of the ministry’s Quality of Life program and will feature 14 categories.
The awards will be given annually to individuals or institutions who have made significant contributions to the preservation or enhancement of the Saudi cultural scene.
In a statement on the award’s website, Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan said the awards will encourage individuals and organizations to continue efforts to further the Kingdom’s cultural agenda.
“The National Cultural Awards celebrate the cultural achievements and artistic talent of individuals and groups across several cultural sectors, in addition to encouraging cultural activity within the 16 cultural sectors of the Ministry of Culture. The initiative supports the realization of Vision 2030 through the Quality of Life program by advocating culture as a lifestyle and supporting the status of the Kingdom as a hub of cultural activity,” he said.
The awards are divided into four tracks: The Pioneer Award, the Youth Culture Award, and the Cultural Institutions Award. The fourth track includes 11 awards: The Film and Visual Show award, the Fashion Award, the Music Award, the National Heritage Award, the Literature Award, the Theater and Performing Award, the Visual Arts Award, the Architecture and Design Award, the Culinary Award, the Publishing Award and the Translation Award.
Nominations are open to Saudis over the age of 21 and local Saudi cultural institutions, for work that has had a significant contribution over the past two to five years, depending on the award category. Interested applicants can apply at culturalawards.moc.gov.sa until Sept. 30.
The announcement has sparked interest among a number of Saudi artists, many of whom feel that their efforts are finally being recognized.
Saudi designer and musician Labeed Assidmi said the announcement could not have come at a better time, as many creatives are struggling to sustain themselves with work, but also remain motivated.
“It’s a burst of life to give hope in these dark times. A lot of creatives are experiencing major depression with what’s happening. This shows them that the ministry — and by way of them, the government — still cares about them and supports them,” he said.
Nouf Al-Hammadi, an aspiring Saudi fashion designer, told Arab News she felt validated by the inclusion of a fashion category, especially after all the time she spent defending her chosen career path from naysayers and doubters.
“I studied finance at university and spent six months in the field before I finally stopped listening to people who told me I couldn’t succeed and decided to become a fashion designer. I’m working on my first collection now and I can’t wait to share it with the world, knowing that my country supports my efforts,” she said.
She added: “Every time I see the ministry mentioning fashion or including it as an art category, I feel like all the sacrifices I made were worth it because it’s not just a hobby anymore, it’s a recognized form of art and career path.”
The winners will be announced in 2021.